Promotional Pen Gets Results

Pens and writing instruments continue to be among the top selling promotional products. With good reason…who can’t use another pen; especially one that is hand friendly and writes well?

During a presentation recently I polled the audience, “Do you think we have enough pens in the world, and could we stop production for a while and still have enough to last for years?”

ImageNearly everyone was in agreement that pens were still popular especially one that writes well and feels good in your hand. With thousands of options, how does a company decide which one works best?

When I met web designer and social media guru, Sandi Eveleth, she was looking for a pen to promote her company, Kiss Your Web. After looking at a few options, she was swift and with confident in her selection: a substantial metal pen with an impressive gold finish. The only remaining question: how do we make this promotion stick?

While the imprint method of laser engraving is ideal for longevity, it does have the limitation of a small imprint area. With a streak of brilliance, Sandi said “Let’s create a specific domain name that offers a free gift for visiting the website, and we’ll print that on the pen.”

Sandi created an informative web page that shows viewers how to improve their website and bring more business into their company.  “Everyone gets the free gift and a downloadable PDF with helpful info,” said the web doctor.

Next move is promoting through social media and track the results. If you’re interested in a chance to win the prize and get some helpful website tips, go to www.kissyourweb.com/free-gift!

In the Spirit of Thanksgiving

What do you care about sketchIt started with a cocktail napkin; the proverbial locale for the million dollar idea.

As the Southwest Florida Community Foundation prepared for its “Evening of Gratitude” and annual appeal, staff and board members strategized on how best to communicate the impact contributors have on the SWF community. According to Development Director Carolyn Rogers, one board member boiled it down perfectly suggesting that whatever the message was, it should be able to fit on a cocktail napkin.

With that concept, the talented team designed the event logo (shown left) to look like a hand-written diagram on a cocktail napkin, highlighting five causes: Arts, Animals, Education, People/Social, and the Environment with the web site for the annual report. Not only was this the theme, but cocktail napkins were available and attendees were asked to take one and view the Foundation’s annual report on line at their leisure.

This Trifecta of evenings provided donors with a new approach to an annual event that was inviting, personal, and truly inspirational. With live performances at cultural venues by local singing sensation Zak Dobbins and pianist Yasuhiko “Yaz” Fukuoka, Gratitude Nuit  delivered on all levels.

Throughout the evening, attendees were given a voice for the causes that matter most to them, as CEO Sarah Owen shared inspirational stories accompanied by the music of Zak and Yaz, while gently conveying the results of the Foundation’s community outreach. It was truly inspiring.

As a frequent attendee of fundraisers, I found this approach refreshing and appealing.  The SWF Community Foundation is creating opportunities for donors to leave a legacy and have impact. Check out the amazing website. It’s colorful, informative, and uplifting, and will leave you feeling positive about the good being done in our community.

Promotional Incentives at Southwest Florida Community Foundation

Boston Red Sox and PI Gumby – The Journey

PI Gumby’s Trip to Boston to See the Red Sox

Having a strong presence and involvement in the Boston Red Sox Children’s Charity Classic, PI Gumby became a devotee of this fan-loved team this spring when PromoLucy’s brother Kevin announced he was satisfying his bucket list by going to one of the World Series games at Fenway.

Promotional Incentives Promotional Bag for Red Sox ClassicSince the trip was a quick overnight, Kevin traveled with the commemorative event duffle, and the flexible green guy; a perfect culmination of Promotional Incentives’ participation in the 20th anniversary event. After all, PI Gumby met former Bo Sox player Pedro Martinez, and played golf with rookie Ruby DeLarosa.

And then PI Gumby had a chance to go to Game 2 in the World Series in Boston.

Only one major wrinkle:  somehow, there was no PI Gumby in my brother’s house in SC.  “Really?!” I asked in disbelief & disappointment, and texted my nieces thinking surely one of them had a Gumby.

A series of texts ensued as I tried to enlist my mom, niece or brother to get the lovable green mascot to Kevin’s for an early AM departure. It wasn’t looking good. My brother was embroiled watching Game 1, my niece who can drive was doing homework, and my mom had received sad news about a friend, and didn’t have the energy to go anywhere.

After pouting for a spell, I shared the news with my husband who and began to resign myself to accepting it just wasn’t meant to be. A few minutes later, my mom called and said triumphantly, “Mission accomplished. PI Gumby is in the hands of the lifelong Red Sox fan. Now I’ve done my part it’s his turn.”

Boston Red Sox Statues at Fenway Park PI Gumby

After spewing forth emphatic appreciation I called my brother. “It’s all taken care of,” he boasted. “I’ve got Gumby in my pocket.” Not letting him know that I knew mom had been the hero, I gave him the very important task of taking photos of the green guy inside Fenway.

It was all very exciting…like a roller coaster! The next afternoon, trying not to be overly anxious, I texted my brother and asked if he was there. “I am here,  but I left Gumby at the hotel.”

My heart sank and I whined at him, “But I really wanted him there, and was excited to post fun photos of you and your buddies at the game with our mascot! Who knows, maybe you’d even have a brush with one of the coaches or players!”

Though I wanted to tell my brother he changed the Mojo for the outcome of the game, not much could be done, and I knew he’d be bummed about the loss.  After all I’d come up with it in the 9th inning and we just couldn’t pull off the victory before the end of the game.

At least he made the trek and maybe made some friends on the plane. Today my brother redeemed himself and sent a photo of Gumby in the arms of the legends in front of the stadium. Let’s hope they pull off a win and become World Series champs again.

Building Industry Association (BIA) Awards

In the Beginning – BIA Awards

For twenty-two years, Promotional Incentives has been selected to provide the Lee BIA’s most prestigious awards, Parade of Homes©, Pinnacle and Summit Awards.  As we prepared for the 2013 BIA Industry Awards, I reflected on where it all began.

In the early days of Promotional Incentives, we had the fragile awards shipped to us, whereby we opened and inspected each one, and then delivered them to the hotel, opened up the boxes again, set them on the tables in the order of presentation.  With a couple of years under our belt, and very few broken or incorrect, we realized it would be much more efficient to ship directly to the hotel.

I love the science to the set-up, and marvel at the number of hands involved in every award as we oversee the process from start to finish. From the manufacturer who makes the marble, crystal or stone creation, to the people preparing the artwork, to those engraving individual personalizations, to the packing department that wraps each one in a protective, often custom-molded gift box, to the shipping company who delivers the boxes to the receiving department at the venue, and the hotel staff who deliver the cartons into the ballroom, where the Promotional Incentives worker bees carefully unwrap each one, and sets them up in proper order.  And to ensure safe delivery to its final resting spot, Jack and I help individually box the winners’ awards.

The day of the event, the process is a series of planned and coordinated steps.

  1. Open the master cartons and remove the individual award boxes.BIA Awards 2013 - opening the boxes
  2. Line up all the boxes so we can see the names and put them in order.BIA Awards 2013 - lining up the boxes - Promotional Incentives
  3. Take the awards out of their protective box and set them up on the skirted table.
    Remember the game Concentration?  It’s like that only more physical as we go up and down the stage stairs dozens of times.BIA Awards 2013 - The Awards by Promotional Incentives
  4. Once we get through the list, which has varied from five for the first Parade of Homes in 1992, to 110 for the Pinnacle and Summit programs in 2013, we realign the awards for maximum symmetry, polish off any fingerprints, and pray that no one bumps the tables on stage.BIA Awards 2013 - all polished and ready to go courtesy of Promotional Incentives
  5. Then, we go home to clean up and change clothes to attend the event as a committee member, sponsor, help hand out the awards, and in recent years, we’ve even been on stage as a award winners ourselves (yeah, it’s tough to keep that one secret). L&J BIA

It’s an honor to be trusted with the knowledge of the winners in our awards programs. Throughout the weeks before the event, every effort is made to ensure the awards portion of the evening goes smoothly. It’s gratifying when each recipient goes home feeling like a winner with a beautiful award to remind them of their accomplishment for years to come.

Child Care of Southwest Florida

It’s funny how you can work with an organization for some time before really grasping what it is they do. That is the scenario for me with Child Care of Southwest Florida. I knew they did a lot for the community by providing affordable day care for hard working-class families, but I had no idea the scope and quality of the multitude of educational opportunities offered.

They’ve been raising awareness to the importance of early childhood structured education with a “Kindergarten is Too Late” campaign. To add visibility, CCSWF contacted Promotional Incentives for promotional buttons, and they’ve been “Getting Results.”  Board members, contributors and community leaders are signing up to don the buttons to promote awareness.

Gumby meets Childcare of SW Florida

When I received an E-vite to tour a CCSWF Center, I signed up to go with a friend to take a one-hour tour of the Messina Center in Fort Myers.

From the moment I arrived, an air of positive energy emanated from the clean and tidy facility. Children and adults were equally delighted to see each other.

I witnessed several kids actually skipping to get in the door. Kind of squashed my pre-conceived notion of day care providers. The few memories I have of pre-school, after school or daycare, was they were pretty much an undesirable alternative to being home with mom.

Messina Center Director Tammy Aronson is an amazing woman, and integral to the success of this (more than just) day care provider. She smiles constantly as she shows us each brightly colored and spatially organized room.

As we walk down the halls with decorated walls, CCSWF Executive Director Beth Lobdell beams with pride as she describes the revolutionary software program (Teaching Strategies GOLD) that allows the leaders to tailor focus the curriculum to meet the individually educational needs of each student. This software has been made available thanks to generous contributions from members of our community.

I’m in awe of the hours of operation: 6:30 am to 11:30 pm most days of the week. Workers split long shifts, and are encouraged to retire to the comfortable couch in the staff room to regroup and reenergize.

Then we follow the homey scent, and go into the kitchen to meet their chef in residence, Carolyn Henderson who is preparing an appealing and nutritious dinner for the second shift. I learn about their ingenuity in their plan to provide healthy meals that kids would eat. You know what they did? It’s revolutionary folks…they asked the kids!

Much against perception, the youth chose well: baby carrots over mushy peas, fresh spinach salads over overcooked canned spinach; with homemade macaroni & cheese and all-beef hot dogs a weekly treat, who wouldn’t be happy?!

Every staff member greets us politely and exudes enthusiasm for their career. Sabrina Perez is a vibrant, energetic soul who exudes her love of children. Her teaching style offers wonderful imaginative ways of helping children engage in active learning.

Beth and I introduce her to P.I. Gumby.  She beams with excitement when I tell her our promotion whereby we encourage people to take Gumby with them, both in their travels, or at work, and we post the photos in social media outlets with links to their website.

Smiling, Sabrina carries P.I. Gumby off to plan fun ways to use him as an educational instrument.  This clever collage is a result of Sabrina’s creativity.

We wind our way through the mosaic tiled walkways lined with art prepared by the children and teachers, see the vegetables and native Florida plants growing. They invite parents to sit at the picnic table and watch their children “Show & Tell” of the activities they’ve been doing, giving the parent a first-hand view of what their children are learning at this child care facility.

The tour is available to anyone interested in finding more about this influential organization, and incredible educational asset for our community.

Child Care of Southwest Florida

Dreams Do Come True at the 2013 Boston Red Sox Children’s Hospital Celebrity Classic

Dreams do come true, as I recently experienced the ultimate combination of business and pleasure when our company sponsored the 2013 Boston Red Sox Children’s Celebrity Classic, a signature event that has raised millions for The Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida.

Upping the ante for the 20th anniversary event: a jaw-dropping matching contributions by two generous donors, Tom Golisano (for whom the Children’s Hospital is now named) and a pair of anonymous donors. Though still being tabulated, the two-day event raised $685,000!

To commemorate this special occasion, Lee Memorial Health System Foundation asked Promotional Incentives to provide the coveted ‘swag’ bags. A stylish durable duffle bag was selected as the commemorative for this landmark tournament.

The two-tone bag was imprinted with three logos: Red Sox 20th Anniversary Celebrity Classic, the new Golisano Children’s Hospital, and the image of Promotional Incentives Gumby with the phrase, “P.I. Gumby loves children and the Green Monster!”

Included in the bag full of giveaways and coupons, was a green Sharpie® imprinted with the “Going Green with Promotional Incentives” logo. The permanent marker was an ideal giveaway for celebrity autographs and identifying golf balls. Promotional Incentives Promotional Bag for Red Sox Classic

Several of the LMHS Foundation staff commenting on the high quality of the duffle bag. “It’s definitely the best bag we’ve ever had,” said Katy Martinez, special events coordinator for the Foundation.

Thursday night’s Tee Party was filled with sports celebrities and incredible opportunities for special events and memorabilia. Baseball greats Mike Greenwell, Luis Tiant and Jim Rice along with special guest University of South Carolina football head coach Steve Spurrier signed autographs and shared stories with the attendees. Part of the dream come true was my brother, a lifelong Red Sox fan, had the unique opportunity to share one of his personal memories with Mike Greenwell.

Also present were local celebrities such as Kelly Burns, always generously gives time and enthusiastic flair to facilitate bidding, LMHS leaders Jim Nathan and Sharon McDonald, were on hand to meet and greet. Dustin and Stefanie Ink-Edwards, who inaugurated a Mud Run that raised $100,000 for The Children’s Hospital, gave personal testimony to the hospital that saved their children’s lives.

The staff of The Forest Country Club were outstanding – from bartenders, wait and bus staff, to managers and directors, all helped insure a successful event. It’s no wonder they are the host every year.  During the tournament, duffers were greeted warmly by residents eager to share helpful hints and encouragement. Sponsoring this amazing event was a fitting celebration of our 22nd anniversary.Promotional Incentives at Red Sox Celebrity Classic

LucyStephanie Ink-Edwards’ daughter plays with P.I. Gumby.   The Promotional Incentives foursome – the only one in the field with matching team shirts!  PromoLucy celebrates with event coorRSCC_2013 031dinator Katy Martinez at the Tee Party.

Third Annual Love That Dress! Over $100,000 Raised!

Seven Hundred Women, Three Thousand Dresses

700 women. 3,000 dresses. Fifty pounds of chocolate, mango passion fruit martinis, rhinestones and bling, taffeta and satin, wedges to stilettos; haute couture fashion, frivolity, spirit-lifting dance music, and beaucoup girlfriend camaraderie, converged at the 4th Annual Love That Dress!

The inordinate number of hours and impressive sponsorship dollars are indicative of the passion this community has for Believing in Girls, helping young women chart a new course in their lives through PACE Center for Girls.

What started as a casual idea from two women discussing over cocktails what to wear to the next gala, has developed into a trademarked, signature event that raises thousands of dollars for PACE in several Florida communities.

The out-of-the-ballpark VIP suites elevated the level of contributors to the third floor providing concierge service and a status that was the envy of all those who attended. These generous and influential supporters added significantly to the proceeds.

Frequent and clever are the opportunities to contribute and take home some cool swag. The newly added ‘mall-type’ photo booth is a perfect example of adding to the fun and the total. The silent auction offered a bevy of female-desired products and services. The bidding was heated and down to the wire; always a good sign at a fundraiser.

Sebrie Images Photography Copyright 2012 | Promotional Items supplied by Promotional Incentives, Inc.

Photo courtesy of Sebrie Images Photography Copyright 2012 | Promotional Items supplied by Promotional Incentives, Inc.

Accessories from White House Black Market and others sold out quickly with savvy shoppers who know the value of wardrobe accents. PACE bling shirts and hats were available at a reasonable price (courtesy of Promotional Incentives, Inc.), giving ladies the opportunity to promote Pace while looking great. Wearing one of these eye-catching garments is sure to solicit comments about the organization thereby enhancing community awareness.

And if you get to the checkout kiosk, and still feel like you haven’t contributed enough, one can always round up their total and give a little extra to the Center.

Although it may be unfair to single out individuals among the sea of volunteerettes, there are a few worthy of public recognition. The first “shout-out” goes to Christin Collins who birthed the idea four years ago. With her talent and immeasurable energy, Director of development Melissa Cofta gives her heart and soul to this event, and continues to astound.

Co-chairs Amy Sanford and Kendra Sutton brought the event to new heights, in stature and grace under pressure.  Cindy Lastovica and Barb Stevens, would have had the time clock spinning for all the hours they contributed by organizing dozens of volunteers, all with a perpetual smile on their faces. And of course the Embassy Suites’ staff continues to perform at a level worthy of a five star resort.

The most elusive kudos of the night goes to the weather. For the first time in years, women dressed to the nines did not have to arrive in torrential rains.

Brimming with fun, chic-iness and charitable hearts, Love That Dress! rocked the community once again.

To volunteer, sponsor, find out more information about PACE, go to www.pacecenter.org/lee or call (239) 425-2366.

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